First Impression of Sketch Libraries

Yesterday, Sketch just launched a new beta (47) with a new interesting feature in hand: Sketch Libraries. What is this?

With Libraries, designers can now share Symbols across documents and have them updated to always be in sync.

It’s pretty straight forward I think. This is going to change the game in the design world. Collaborating within design is generally a bit of a nightmare, especially with elements or texts that are different in multiple design files. It was a struggle when I was working in a team in my previous startup. Even though we were trying to keep an unique sketch file with all the components, it was still pretty hard to maintain. And if you ever had the bad luck to update a colour or a font in your design… You end up wondering why you were doing this job. I’m exaggerating a bit, but we can summarise it like this…

Obviously, there are products like Craft Library, Lingo Sketch Plugin, or SatchelforSketch, but none of them are very seamless in their user experience. And most of them are paid applications. (they just want to rack Designers’ money..)

Usage

The usage is pretty simple and straightforward. To add a Sketch Library, you’ll need a sketch file that contains some symbols, and add it in to your Library: Preferences > Libraries.

If you have correctly organised your Symbols, everything should now appear on the menu Insert > [Name of your Library]

Heres what I have:

You can now see how useful it can be. The usage can be very seamless in your design work. And if you update your Library, it automatically notifies the other sketch files you’re editing.

And if you want to edit the Symbols, it asks you to update it on the Original document.

If your Sketch Library is correctly arranged, it can further empower you design workflow.

With a quick test, I could already use the powerful Symbols elements in my design and choose which state of the asset I wanted.

Wait for it

The new version is still in Beta, so a bit buggy still, but I’m already very excited to see the final version coming. A few downsides I saw while I was testing was:

Sketch put all the elements with the same name together. I keep this principle to keep all my Symbols well categorised so I don’t need to look for it.

  • No search bar. I guess if you have a lot of Symbols, it would be great to be able to search in your entire Library.

But the Dev team have done a great job already, and I can’t be happier that they finally launched this new feature. We’re closer to finally be able to share not only UI elements, but an entire design system.

If you have anything to add, shout out in the comments!